Cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Lab sent Skoltech PhD student Artyom Nikitin to Prague this month to compete in the finals of a major international competition.
The Cybersecurity for the Next Generation competition pits young IT specialists against each other to solve business cases based on real-world information security problems.
Participants – which can include individuals or small teams – begin by selecting a case supplied by various partner organizations, running the gamut from oil companies to consulting firms. They then have up to about a month to develop a solution for their chosen case.
Finalists are then flown to Prague to present their solutions.
Participating as an individual, Nikitin chose an industrial espionage case presented by software firm Dassault Systèmes, which challenged participants to develop a solution to protect a jewelry manufacturer from the loss of confidential information.
“The solution I developed makes it possible to secure file exchanges between colleagues via popular messenger apps like Telegram and Slack that are installed on workplace computers. It consists of a modified messenger application that performs file encryption and decryption using an asymmetric encryption scheme and a chat-bot server that serves managerial and key redistribution functions. The main advantages of the proposed solution are simplicity – as almost everyone uses messengers – and low maintenance costs – as all of the storage management is handled by the messengers,” he said.
Nikitin competed against six other teams who chose the same case. Each was evaluated based on the novelty, real-world suitability and accessibility to non-experts of their solutions.
Dassault Systèmes was so impressed with his solution that they selected him as the recipient of their sponsorship prize, an iPhone X.
The event was held in conjunction with the Kaspersky Academic Partner Summit, an annual conference that draws together the crème de la crème of the global cybersecurity industry.
“I am glad that this event was held jointly with the Academic Partner Summit as I had a chance to get acquainted with cybersecurity experts both from academia and industry, and to explore potential interdisciplinary research options,” he said.